What I’ve Read: The Week of March 25th 2018

Author – Title – Publication Details, Date
Form / genres which I see fit
[excerpts where available. coloured in red, for when I am especially affected!]

1.Janine Benyus – Biomimicry – 1999
Book / Ecology, biology, environmental studies – VERY new ways of knowing for me!!

[ “In these pages, you’ll meet men and women who are exploring nature’s masterpieces—photosynthesis, self-assembly, natural selection, self-sustaining ecosystems, eyes and ears and skin and shells, talking neurons, natural medicines, and more—and then copying these designs and manufacturing processes to solve our own problems. I call their quest biomimicry—the conscious emulation of life’s genius.”

“Even the wheel, which we always took to be a uniquely human creation, has been found in the tiny rotary motor that propels the flagellum of the world’s most ancient bacteria.”

In ensemble, living things maintain a dynamic stability, like dancers in an arabesque, continually juggling resources without waste.”

“Within these lines, life unfurls her colors with virtuosity, using limits as a source of power, a focusing mechanism” ]

2. Sharon Mattern – “The City is Not a Computer” – Places Journal, 2017
Essay / Urban studies

[ “Modernity is good at renewing metaphors, from the city as machine, to the city as organism or ecology, to the city as cyborgian merger of the technological and the organic. Our current paradigm, the city as computer, appeals because it frames the messiness of urban life as programmable and subject to rational order.”

“… city is an assemblage of media forms (vaults, archives, monuments, physical and electronic records, oral histories, lived cultural heritage); agents (architectures, institutions, media technologies, people); and functions (storage, processing, transmission, reproduction, contextualization, operationalization). It is a large, complex, and varied epistemological and bureaucratic apparatus. It is an information processor, to be sure, but it is also more than that.”

City-making is always, simultaneously, an enactment of city-knowing.” ]

3. Henri LefebvreTowards An Architecture of Enjoyment – 1973
Book / Urban studies, Frankfurt School

4. Charles Altieri – “The Significance of Frank O’Hara”  The Iowa Review, Winter 4.1 – 1973
Essay / Literary criticism. history, urban studies (Happy birthday Frank O’ Hara!)

[ “For the city is a continual source of interesting and engaging details. Moreover, the city is a perfect metaphor for O’Hara’s sense of the value in these details. Presence in the city is antithetical to presence in nature. City details after all have neither meaning, hierarchy nor purpose not created absolutely by man. And more important, the city is committed to perpetual change; there are no enduring seasonal motifs or patterns of duration underlying and sustaining the multiplicity of city phenomena. They exist completely in the moment. And they exist superficially. In the city, as in O’Hara’s ontology, interesting and engaging details are continually becoming present. Yet not only do these momentary apparitions promise no underlying significance or meanings to be interpreted, they actually resist any attempt on our part to know them better. City life offers a series of phenomena to notice, perhaps to play with in one’s own psyche, but very rarely do these phenomena inspire or welcome any attempt to participate in their lives.” ]

5. Samantha Rose Hill – “Critical Love: Night of Philosophy Love Symposium” Public Seminar – 2018
Essay / Philosophy, love

[ “Rousseau – Love’s Secret Wish

Can you imagine walking in circles, day after day, experiencing life in abandonment? And then, one afternoon, finding a secret note folded between the pages of a book? A note that contained your most longed-for wish? What would it take to unfold that paper?

Knowledge and love interwoven, the propensities that follow us throughout our lives are born in the youth of our awakening. Each love can only become what came before, so we never stop looking for it in the future. Hours spent staring at kitchen tables and night-stands, wooden arches of doorframes, too weak to walk through. Fear impinges and fuels desire. I long for you to see me as I think I am, as she did. Can there ever be recognition of such hidden longingTo be loved by everyone who knew me was my most ardent wish. Yes, this would-be evidence of love. The fulfilment of secret desires.”

“Marcuse – Eros is by its very nature polymorphously perverse, freed from the demands of productive society.”

“Arendt – How to Love the World

We must be committed to, as Benjamin says, returning in a round-a-about way to love as an object of contemplation. Love, much like thinking, belongs in the private realm of human affairs. At best, I hope that at the end of the day, when I go home I might find some joy in my solitude. I might find a way to be with the world that has followed me inside and engage in the 2-in-1 dialogue. There in the private realm is where we come face-to-face with the question of love.

There, I read Auden, Rilke, Homer. Yes, there, they bring me closer to loving the world. Closer to the opening that unfolds beyond the horizon of human deeds, nearer the path of Being. Nearer to beginning again. Alone with myself, love reborn in every thought.” ]

6. Donna Haraway – Staying With The Trouble – 2016
Book / Feminist science studies, biology, new ways of thinking!

[ She thinks in attunement with those she thinks with—recursively, inventively, relentlessly—with joy and verve. She studies how beings render each other capable in actual encounters, and she theorizes—makes cogently available—that kind of theory and method. Despret is not interested in thinking by discovering the stupidities of others, or by reducing the field of attention to prove a point. Her kind of thinking enlarges, even invents, the competencies of all the players, including herself, such that the domain of ways of being and knowing dilates, expands, adds both ontological and epistemological possibilities, proposes and enacts what was not there before. That is her worlding practice. She is a philosopher and a scientist who is allergic to denunciation and hungry for discovery, needy for what must be known and built together, with and for earthly beings, living, dead, and yet to come. ]

7. Judika Illes – The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft – 2005
Book / Witchcraft, feminism

[sympathetic magic.]

8. Susan Matasovska – What Lesbians Do In Bed – 1992
Poem / Feminism, queer women, love

9. June Jordan – Poem for Haruko – from Directed by Desire, 2005
Poem / Queer women, love

10. June Jordan – A Poem for Haruko 10/29 – from Directed by Desire, 2005
Poem / Queer women, love

[ Oh! If you would only walk
into this room
again and touch me anywhere
I swear
I would not long for heaven or
for earth
more than I’d wish to stay there
and touching you ]

11. Jean Pierre Vernant (historian, anthropologist, lover of Claude Levi Strauss) as quoted  in David Farrell KrellThe Tragic Absolute: German Idealism and the Languishing of God, 2005
Book / Philosophy, Dionysus, theology, greek mythology, my namesake

Like wine, Dionysus is double: most terrible yet infinitely sweet. His presence, which is a bewildering intrusion of otherness into the human world, may take two forms, be manifested in two different ways. On the one hand it may bring blessed union with the god, in the heart of nature, with every constraint lifted – an escape from the limitations of the everyday world and oneself. That is the experience extolled in the parodos: purity, holiness, joy, sweet felicity. On the other hand, it may precipitate one into chaos in the confusion of a bloodthirsty, murderous madness in which the ‘same’ and the ‘other’ merge and one mistakes one’s nearest and dearest, one’s own child, one’s second self for a wild beast that one tears apart with one’s bare hands: ghastly impurity, inexpiable crime, misfortune without end, without relief.”